This article contains proven steps and strategies on how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Living green means you make it a habit not to use more than you absolutely need.
You see to it that only renewable resources are used in creating or manufacturing the products you use in the home, and that no harmful pollutants were released into the environment as a result of producing them.
You won’t necessarily be cutting yourself off from the rest of the world with your unique green living habits and practices.
Rather, you are striving to improve the quality of your life while ensuring that you are living in harmony with Mother Nature.
The green lifestyle has paved the way for the widely known green products available in the market today.
They have proven their efficiency to be similar to, or even better, than their traditional counterparts.
Performing their functions without causing harm due to toxic content and hazardous side effects is the main purpose of green products. Popular examples of green products are organic household cleaners and recycled plastic materials.
The reason why living the green lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor is rooted in several reasons.
A big chunk of the world’s food, water, and air pollutions is a direct result of industrialized nations’ heavy dependence on the use of oil to fuel their businesses.
The over-development of land due to agricultural efforts, industrial practices, and housing developments has led to the frequent occurrence of erosion.
Water contamination has become a commonplace occurrence; oceans, rivers, streams, and other water supplies have turned into catch basins for toxic chemicals leaked by industry factories and facilities.
Traces of mercury and other hazardous chemicals found in fish and seafood have turned
these once-healthy food sources into deadly ones.
Furthermore, various health issues have resulted from the damage being done on the environment. Asthma and other health problems are caused by air pollution, drastic temperature changes, and acid rain.
Freshwater sources that include those used for human consumption have been polluted due to farm and city runoffs.
And the presence of harmful chemicals in the surroundings — including those used in animals raised for food, as well as those contained in pesticides — has resulted in higher incidence of allergies to food and sensitivity to chemicals.
Although you cannot control many harmful occurrences in the environment, living green does help you minimize the negative impact of your daily activities on environmental health.
The green lifestyle is your ticket to creating a healthy home for your family and also contributes to a healthier world.
How To Live a More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle:
Say No to Wasteful Habits
Green living not only allows you to give your various junk new leases in life through recycling, but also to conserve natural resources such as water and food.
Various housekeeping habits, specifically in dishwashing, hygiene, and laundry, contribute to the worsening global problem of decreasing water resources.
Meanwhile, a significant chunk of the food bought by most people is thrown away instead of being used to nourish their bodies.
Tips on Cutting Down on Water Waste
1. Eliminate cotton, paper, and electronics.
Manufacturing these products requires the use of an enormous amount of water — so don’t buy them. Instead, opt to use recycled paper and have fun creating a new wardrobe out of vintage clothing.
Also, refrain from having to buy the latest gadget that is introduced in the market each year, especially if your existing one still works.
2. Be water-smart in the bathroom.
Have smart appliances installed in your bathroom. Faucet aerators, low-flow toilets, and water-saving showerheads can help you reduce your water consumption.
3. Patch up leaks.
It helps to periodically check for leaks around the house. Make sure water is not escaping from pipes and faucets.
4. Take care of your plants wisely.
Save the water that is left over from cooking and use it to water your houseplants instead of turning on the faucet. Outside the house, try gardening and landscaping techniques that do away with irrigation practices.
Also, consider planting trees, shrubs, and some native plants instead of the usual foliage and ornamental varieties — they can get by with the use of less water.
5. Reduce your use of water.
The most obvious way to cut down on your water waste is to simply use less of it in the first place.
Turn the faucet back on only after you have finished brushing your teeth. Run the laundry and dishwasher machines only after they have been filled up. And stop taking long showers.
Tips on Paring Down Your Food Waste
6. Be charitable.
Soup kitchens, shelters, and local food banks can find many uses of the food (non-perishables and unspoiled perishables) you donate to them.
Reusable containers and free pickup is often provided by national as well as local programs to people who donate food.
7. Get creative with food.
There are a lot of recipes available online that let you use everything inside your refrigerator that might soon be unfit for consumption.
This is also your chance to show off your skills in whipping up fun school lunches for your kids.
8. Take advantage of your freezer.
What’s great with freezing your food is that they remain safe for a long period of time. Leftovers and fresh produce should be frozen before they perish, especially if you know you will not be eating them soon.
9. Eat less and pay less.
Request to have smaller portions when eating out. Half-portions are often provided by restaurants, along with reduced prices.
10. Don’t fall for shopping ploys.
Avoid impulse buying by planning your meals and then making a list of ingredients to buy. You could buy from bulk bins, but make sure you truly need the food they are offering, especially the perishable ones.
Tips on Recycling
11. Give away your used vehicle.
Your local charity will be able to help someone who badly needs a car, even the used one you donated.
12. Give up the goods.
Let others make use of your worldly goods by donating them to a local thrift shop.
Community residents are encouraged by a number of local governments who have partnered with charities like Goodwill to bag their donations for ease of pickup by people who need them.
13. Be kind to your neighbors.
You probably have a number of appliances you no longer need around the house.
Let your neighbors make use of your unused sewing machine, leaf blower, or steam carpet cleaner by sharing these appliances to them. You will have the added benefit of decluttering your home in the process.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint On the Road
You can also give your green living a great head start by reducing the amount of carbon (which contributes to global warming) you give off to the environment.
There are four ways you could do this: by keeping your car properly maintained, going carless, driving responsibly, or switching cars.
Run and Maintain Your Car Properly
14. Cruise along.
You will be able to improve your car’s general fuel efficiency as well as get it to run at more consistent speed levels if you use cruise control while driving.
15. Leave excess baggage at home.
Driving your vehicle without stuffing its trunk with heavy objects will lighten its load.
Plus, you get to save on petrol.
16. Avoid idling.
Doing so only wastes your fuel. Turning the car off and then restarting it is the more efficient way to go. If you are planning to hit the drive-through, park the car instead and then get inside the fast food restaurant to pick up your food.
17. Monitor your air filter.
If your car’s air filter needs changing, replace it with a new one. Doing so on a regular basis helps your gas mileage’s improvement.
Become a Green Commuter
18. Set up a car pool plan with your neighbors.
Sharing a ride with your neighbors or coworkers will significantly help you in your quest for living a green lifestyle.
The benefits you will get include saving your car from early wear and tear, saving your
money as well as your time, and helping other people as well as the environment.
19. Ride a bike.
It is another great way of going to your workplace, whether on your own or with coworkers.
20. Ride a bus.
Give public transportation a try and save your time and money as well as help in saving millions of tons’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions in a year (or about 20 pounds in a day).
Take it slow at first by riding the bus a few times a week until you feel you could manage it daily.
Be a Responsible Driver
Burn less gas by not having to make sudden stops and starts on the road; going beyond the speed limit should be avoided as well.
Plan your trips to effectively minimize putting in unnecessary miles.
21. Consider Using A Hybrid or Electric Car
Almost every car manufacturer is now offering hybrid and electric models. By using one of them, you will benefit from reduced carbon emissions and increased mileage from your gas.
If buying an electric or hybrid car is not possible at the moment, you could switch to a vehicle with a high MPG (miles per gallon) rating instead.
It will allow you to save money by burning less fuel.
22. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Home
Since you are just a beginner in the green lifestyle, one of the easiest ways you could reduce the amount of carbon emissions being released into the environment is by opting to use efficient lighting at home.
Harnessing the potential of solar power in your household is also an effective way of living green.
Green Ways To Light Up Your Home
23. Make use of the latest in lighting technology.
Smartphone apps that let you manage your LED lights at home from your device are now available.
24. Look for the blue star.
When purchasing lightbulbs, make sure that you check for the blue star (Energy Star) label on these products. The said label is your assurance that claims made by their manufacturers have been verified.
25. Learn more about your bulb’s lumens.
The amount of light produced by a lightbulb is more important than the amount of energy it consumes in order to light a room when it comes to efficient lighting.
Check the lumens (measure of light produced) the next time you buy new bulbs.
26. Choose LED.
They are the best options when one considers lighting efficiency. LED lights can work well with lights that use dimmer switches. Plus, they provide full brightness to any room in an instant. LED lights also have twice the life span of CFLs, which compensates for their higher cost.
Ways to Go Solar
27. Make an assessment.
Check the average cost of having a solar system installed in your home. Learn what you can about warranties, rebates, and incentive programs, and secure a list of qualified installers and distributors.
28. Check your access to sun exposure.
Your roof should be sufficiently exposed to the sun. Consider how your tree shade can lower the efficiency of your solar panels, as well as add to your system costs.
29. Extend your solar power’s worth.
The electricity it provides is not the only thing that solar power can give you. You could also make use of solar energy to increase the temperature of water in your hot water system.
You could even lease your solar system to make up for the high cost of purchasing it. There is also an option available that lets you sell your extra energy through a grid-tied system.
Green Cleaning Practices and Workout Routines That Keep Your Family Healthy
One of the best ways to start having a green lifestyle is by reducing the amount of toxins and other pollutants inside the home.
This will greatly help you in ensuring you family’s health. Of course, being healthy also extends to physical fitness, and there are green ways you could follow to achieve yours.
Banish Chemicals in the Home
30. Eliminate the use of pesticides.
The use of pesticides should be avoided as much as possible.
If you absolutely have to use them, make sure young children are not around, follow the instructions to the letter, and use only in areas that are well-ventilated.
See to it that you are not using pesticides which have been banned, since manufacturers can still sell them and you may have unknowingly bought one.
31. Avoid formaldehyde-treated products.
Carpets and pressed wood are examples of products treated with formaldehyde. In case you have already purchased and used one, ensure that the area where it is placed has good ventilation.
32. Prevent water contamination.
Your water could get contaminated with lead from old pipes. If your water tests positive for lead, make sure to use a filter.
Have Better Quality Air
33. Keep cigarette smoke out.
If you find it impossible to ask your smoking visitors from not lighting up completely, you could politely request them to smoke outside.
34. Widen your options.
If your family is particularly sensitive to chemicals, choose carpets that are made of wool.
Instead of using furniture made from fiberboard or particleboard, go for those that are
built from solid wood with a water-based finish.
35. Clean up.
Cleaning up the air in your home is much better than covering up bad smells with the use of chemical air fresheners.
Invite fresh air into your house by opening the windows (1), installing an air cleaning device such as an air purifier or filter, or filling the rooms with the natural fragrance of potpourri or flowers.
36. Encourage air circulation.
Every now and then, open all your windows to circulate the air. This is especially important when new furniture or carpets are installed inside the house.
Engage in Greener Workouts
37. Spice things up.
Vary your workout routine. Committing yourself to jogging after work can be difficult, as well as finding the time to go to the gym.
To improve your body’s ability to burn calories, try riding a bike or taking a walk at lunch.
Doing your gardening tasks, household chores, and yard work are activities that also effectively burn fat.
38. Choose environment-friendly workout clothing.
Workout clothes that wick away sweat are now available in green fabrics made from bamboo threads and organic cotton.
Secondhand gym equipment like weights as well as bicycles can be purchased from your local sporting goods store or through the Internet.
You could also take advantage of some companies’ gear or clothing innovations, which make use of recycled materials.
39. Encourage your health club to go green as well.
Suggest having your gym or health club undergo a green makeover with small changes that create a big impact.
You could give the staff reminders about requesting members to avoid using towels
You might encourage your club to consider upgrading their exercise machines to energy-efficient ones, as well as providing recycling bins.
Greening Your Food — From the Market to the Compost Bin
Living the green lifestyle also extends to how you buy, prepare, eat, and dispose of your food.
The following are helpful tips on greening your food at the store, in the kitchen, at the dinner table, and in the compost bin.
Buying Food at the Market
40. Bring a reusable bag.
This way, you avoid wasting grocery bags that are made of paper or plastic. You could ask the store to use the least amount of bags as possible in case you forget to bring your own.
Larger items, such as milk jugs, do not have to be placed in bags; instead, they can be placed in your cart or carried by hand.
41. Purchase organically grown foods.
Doing so will benefit you in two ways: Your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals is decreased, and the chemicals are prevented from contaminating the environment.
Make sure that the fruits and vegetables you buy have the “certified organic” label.
Organically raised meat is your best bet if eating meat is still part of your green lifestyle.
42. Opt to eat locally grown foods.
Locally grown foods taste better over those that have travelled many miles before reaching the consumer.
They are also packed with more nutrients. Choosing to buy local also allows you to make a contribution toward reducing energy costs in shipping.
Working in the Kitchen
43. Know your energy ratings.
When buying kitchen appliances, it is important to determine their energy ratings (indicators of the number of kilowatt hours of energy consumed in a month) beforehand.
It also helps to look for models which bear the Energy Star label, which ensures that they give off low levels of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect.
44. Use green cooking tools.
Using cooking tools that are made out of recycled materials is a great way to start living a green lifestyle.
You could also check out thrift stores and garage sales for used items such as utensils, pans, and pots.
Your energy consumption will also be significantly reduced if you use a pressure cooker in cooking food and an electric kettle in boiling water.
45. Reduce your cooking time.
Your food will get done faster if you cook them in glass dishes instead of metal pots or pans.
To reduce the amount of energy used in cooking, make sure that the size of your pan’s or pot’s bottom is the same as the burner.
46. Keep plastic out.
Food should not be stored in plastic.
Reusable glass containers would be better options for food storage, although you should check whether the ones you are using are freezer-safe or not.
47. Reduce energy waste.
Using less energy in the kitchen includes thawing out frozen foods before cooking them, turning off the oven and stove when not in use, keeping the fridge closed, using a lid to cover a pan when boiling water in it, and unplugging the coffeemaker and toaster after every use.
Eating at the Dinner Table
48. Eat dinner in style.
Use real dishes and silverware as well as cloth napkins when setting the table for dinner.
Disposable ones will only end up in landfills.
49. Light up.
Use candles instead of electric lights when eating dinner. Doing so reduces the electricity used as well as sets the mood.
To avoid polluting the air indoors, choose those candles made from natural materials such as organic soy and beeswax.
50. Composting in the Garden
After cooking, dump your leaves, stems, potato peels, and other food scraps and dump into the compost bin.
You could include coffee grounds, tea bags, grass clippings, dead brown weeds, and sawdust or wood chips. Do not include ivy, chemically treated wood, bones, meat, or your pet’s wastes.
Steps to Composting
- Build a compost bin (2). You could also opt to buy one instead: Choose something in the size you want to use.
- Ensure proper air circulation inside the compost bin to discourage the growth of unpleasant-smelling microbials that flourish in the absence of air. Do this by placing air
holes in your compost bin.
- To promote decomposition, monitor the contents of your compost bin periodically to make sure that they are always slightly damp (but not wet). The moisture will help encourage the growth of microorganisms which cause the compost materials to decay.
- See to it that the right combination of green (live) materials and brown (dead) materials is achieved to provide the appropriate food to the microorganisms.
- Add to the contents of your compost as needed.
Caring for Your Pet the Green Way
Beginning a green lifestyle does not only involve reducing the impact of your daily activities on environmental health by changing your habits and adopting new ones.
It also means taking care of your pet animals and taking care of your surroundings as well.
51. Feed Your Pet Organic Foods
In the same way that you don’t think twice about purchasing organically grown food for your family to ensure their health, you also should not hold back from buying organic choices for your pet.
Although organic pet food is considerably more expensive than conventional ones, they offer your beloved animal the benefits of decreased number of visits to the vet’s clinic or the hospital.
Harmful ingredients have found their way into traditional pet foods, such as antibiotics, animal byproducts, added hormones, and even melamine (a plastic material and an ingredient in fertilizers, cleaners, and plastics).
52. Go for Natural Pet Care Products
It is best to read the labels on shampoos and other pet grooming/care products before buying and using them on your pet.
They are mostly laden with various chemicals — the same ones which you would not want to use on yourself.
53. Get Green Tags for Your Pet
Pets that spend a lot of their time outdoors are required to wear ID tags. Choose a green tag for your pet.
There are specialty stores that sell environment-friendly pet tags, which are creatively made out of recycled silver, steel, or aluminum.
54. Protect Your Pet from Pests Naturally
Pests do not only harm your pet with infections and diseases; they can also attack you as well as your family.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your pet from ticks and fleas without harming the environment.
These include maintaining your pet’s cleanliness at all times; removing existing fleas from your pet’s coat by running a fine-toothed comb through it; and regularly dusting and vacuuming all surfaces.
You might want to try killing fleas by sprinkling some borax on your pet’s mat or carpet before vacuuming.
It also helps to include brewer’s yeast and garlic in your pet’s meals; these ingredients make the food taste bad to fleas and keep them away.
55. Use Eco-Friendly Path-Clearing Alternatives
During the winter season, don’t use the conventional rock salt to clear your driveways and walkways. Instead, choose de-icing options offered by some pet organizations.
They effectively melt ice but do not contain salt, and they are guaranteed to be safe for your children and pets.